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Here Is the Tax Burden on the Poorest 20% in Every State

Cameron Huddleston

The U.S. has a progressive income tax system. That doesn’t refer to any sort of political influence on the system. Instead, it means that tax rates are lower for people who earn less and rise as income rises — so, ideally, those who make more carry more of the tax burden.

Currently, the federal income tax rates range from 10% to 37%. You fall into the lowest tax bracket for the 2019 filing year if you’re single and your income is $9,700 or less, or $19,400 or less if you’re married filing jointly. However, taxpayers in the lowest bracket typically don’t owe federal tax because their income is lower than the standard deduction.

But that doesn’t mean that low-income households escape paying taxes altogether. Their income might be low but not low enough to avoid federal income taxes. Plus, state and local taxes can take a bite out of limited incomes. And there are sales taxes in most states.

To find the total tax burden on the bottom 20% of taxpayers, GOBankingRates analyzed federal and state income tax rates and sales tax rates. First, GOBankingRates found the average annual income of the bottom 20% in every state using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and sourced federal and state income tax brackets from the Tax Foundation’s 2019 data. The effective and marginal tax rate on the average income of the bottom 20% in every state was then calculated for a taxpayer filing single and married filing jointly. Average sales tax paid was calculated based on consumer spending data of those in the bottom 20% from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Missouri Economic Research Center.

GOBankingRates then combined total spent on federal and state income tax plus total spent on sales tax annually divided by average income of the bottom 20% of earners in each state to calculate the total tax burden. The standard deduction was used when calculating income tax rates. If the standard deduction was greater than the average income, no tax would be taken from that income. Property tax was not included due to lack of consistent data for home values of the bottom 20% in every state.

States are ranked from highest to lowest average annual income of the bottom 20% of earners. The study shows that the tax burden on low-income households does vary greatly from state to state. Find out how much in taxes is paid by the bottom 20% in each state.

1. Alaska

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $18,864
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,060
    • Tax burden: 5.62%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $394
    • Tax burden: 2.09%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $34,114

2. New Hampshire

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $18,366
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $925
    • Tax burden: 5.04%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $0
    • Tax burden: 0%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $32,116

3. Maryland

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $18,335
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,218
    • Tax burden: 12.10%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,365
    • Tax burden: 7.45%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $34,542

Find Out: When Will You Get Your Tax Refund?

4. Utah

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $18,140
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,102
    • Tax burden: 11.58%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,214
    • Tax burden: 6.69%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $32,158

5. Hawaii

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $17,148
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,184
    • Tax burden: 12.74%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,570
    • Tax burden: 9.16%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $32,967

6. Minnesota

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $16,587
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,993
    • Tax burden: 12.01%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,319
    • Tax burden: 7.95%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $29,819

7. New Jersey

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $16,332
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,913
    • Tax burden: 11.72%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,442
    • Tax burden: 8.83%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $30,609

8. Washington

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $16,329
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,209
    • Tax burden: 13.53%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,796
    • Tax burden: 11.00%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $30,369

9. Colorado

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $16,274
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,986
    • Tax burden: 12.20%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,391
    • Tax burden: 8.55%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $30,158

10. Connecticut

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $16,120
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,907
    • Tax burden: 11.83%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,397
    • Tax burden: 8.66%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $30,330

11. Virginia

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $15,860
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,456
    • Tax burden: 9.18%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,010
    • Tax burden: 6.37%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $29,713

12. Delaware

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $15,259
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $329
    • Tax burden: 2.16%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $0
    • Tax burden: 0%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $28,421

13. Wyoming

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $15,256
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,263
    • Tax burden: 8.28%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $957
    • Tax burden: 6.27%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $26,895

Read: 8 Reasons Why Your Refund Will Be Late This Year

14. California

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $15,015
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,437
    • Tax burden: 16.23%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,127
    • Tax burden: 14.17%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $27,973

15. Massachusetts

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $14,795
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,822
    • Tax burden: 12.31%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,431
    • Tax burden: 9.67%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $28,449

16. Wisconsin

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $14,709
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,271
    • Tax burden: 8.64%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $920
    • Tax burden: 6.25%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,995

17. Nebraska

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $14,674
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,424
    • Tax burden: 9.71%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,116
    • Tax burden: 7.61%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $26,212

18. North Dakota

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $14,491
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,418
    • Tax burden: 9.79%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,164
    • Tax burden: 8.03%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $26,920

19. Vermont

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $14,437
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,561
    • Tax burden: 10.81%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,262
    • Tax burden: 8.74%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,401

20. Iowa

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $14,299
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,345
    • Tax burden: 9.40%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,127
    • Tax burden: 7.88%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,587

21. Kansas

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,925
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,506
    • Tax burden: 10.81%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,333
    • Tax burden: 9.57%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,384

22. South Dakota

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,882
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,253
    • Tax burden: 9.03%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,085
    • Tax burden: 7.82%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,261

23. Nevada

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,814
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,664
    • Tax burden: 12.04%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,503
    • Tax burden: 10.88%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,653

24. Oregon

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,802
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $240
    • Tax burden: 1.74%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $0
    • Tax burden: 0%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,267

25. Illinois

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,529
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,719
    • Tax burden: 12.71%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,520
    • Tax burden: 11.24%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $25,553

26. Texas

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,447
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,449
    • Tax burden: 10.77%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,324
    • Tax burden: 9.84%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $24,998

See: 5 Common Reasons You Might Owe Taxes This Year

27. Pennsylvania

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,409
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,281
    • Tax burden: 9.55%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,123
    • Tax burden: 8.37%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $24,513

28. Idaho

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,120
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,106
    • Tax burden: 8.43%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,004
    • Tax burden: 7.65%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $23,712

29. Indiana

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,048
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,227
    • Tax burden: 9.41%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,115
    • Tax burden: 8.55%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $23,723

30. Maine

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $13,034
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,264
    • Tax burden: 9.70%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,133
    • Tax burden: 8.70%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,947

Guide: How To Fill Out a W-4

31. Arizona

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,818
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,552
    • Tax burden: 12.11%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,474
    • Tax burden: 11.50%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $24,117

32. Montana

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,738
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $62
    • Tax burden: 0.49%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $0
    • Tax burden: 0%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,744

33. Missouri

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,699
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,330
    • Tax burden: 10.48%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,280
    • Tax burden: 10.08%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,977

34. Michigan

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,616
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,006
    • Tax burden: 7.97%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $946
    • Tax burden: 7.49%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $23,192

Check Out: 18 Medical Expenses You Can Deduct From Your Taxes

35. New York

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,552
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,070
    • Tax burden: 16.49%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $2,021
    • Tax burden: 16.10%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $24,105

36. Rhode Island

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,547
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,505
    • Tax burden: 12.00%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,457
    • Tax burden: 11.62%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $23,635

37. Florida

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,439
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,243
    • Tax burden: 9.99%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,219
    • Tax burden: 9.80%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,927

38. Ohio

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,289
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,178
    • Tax burden: 9.59%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,169
    • Tax burden: 9.51%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,643

Find Out: How To Avoid Paying Taxes Legally — And the 4 Craziest Ways People Have Done It

39. North Carolina

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,189
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,161
    • Tax burden: 9.52%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,161
    • Tax burden: 9.52%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,147

40. Georgia

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $12,099
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,157
    • Tax burden: 9.56%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,157
    • Tax burden: 9.56%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $22,825

41. Oklahoma

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $11,944
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,352
    • Tax burden: 11.32%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,352
    • Tax burden: 11.32%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $21,704

42. Tennessee

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $11,614
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,468
    • Tax burden: 12.64%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,468
    • Tax burden: 12.64%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $21,282

Learn: What Is a Tax Deduction and How Do Tax Deductions Work?

43. South Carolina

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $11,305
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,246
    • Tax burden: 11.03%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,246
    • Tax burden: 11.03%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $21,229

44. Arkansas

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $10,677
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,446
    • Tax burden: 13.54%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,446
    • Tax burden: 13.54%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $19,400

45. Kentucky

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $10,422
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $980
    • Tax burden: 9.41%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $980
    • Tax burden: 9.41%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $19,325

46. West Virginia

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $10,307
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,029
    • Tax burden: 9.99%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,029
    • Tax burden: 9.99%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $18,559

Don’t Miss: Your Salary Will Stretch The Furthest in These Key States

 

47. Alabama

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $10,175
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,442
    • Tax burden: 14.17%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,442
    • Tax burden: 14.17%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $18,948

48. New Mexico

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $9,947
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,219
    • Tax burden: 12.25%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,219
    • Tax burden: 12.25%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $19,037

49. Louisiana

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $9,663
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,554
    • Tax burden: 16.08%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,554
    • Tax burden: 16.08%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $18,241

50. Mississippi

  • Average income of the bottom 20%: $9,084
  • Single filers:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,050
    • Tax burden: 11.55%
  • Married couples filing jointly:
    • Total income and sales taxes paid: $1,050
    • Tax burden: 11.55%
  • Maximum income to qualify as bottom 20%: $17,049

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the tax burden on the poorest 20% in every state, GOBankingRates used the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau to find the average annual income of the bottom 20% of earners in every state. GOBankingRates then sourced both the federal and state tax brackets from the Tax Foundation’s 2019 data. GOBankingRates used an in-house income tax calculator to find both the effective and marginal tax rate on the average income of the poorest 20% in every state. These calculations were done for a taxpayer filing as a single and for a married couple filing jointly. GOBankingRates then used the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey by income quintile to find the annual expenditure for the bottom 20% income quintile (minus shelter and healthcare) and found the annual expenditure of the poorest 20% in each state using the Missouri Economic Research Center’s Cost of Living Data Series. The annual expenditure of each state was then multiplied by each state’s average combined sales tax (state rate plus average local rate) to give total dollars spent on sales tax for each state. To figure out the total tax burden, GOBankingRates combined total spent on federal and state income tax plus total spent on sales tax annually divided by average income. The standard deduction was used when calculating income tax rates. If the standard deduction was greater than the average income, no tax would be taken from that income. Property tax was not included due to lack of consistent data for home values of the bottom 20% of earners in every state. All data was collected and is up-to-date as of Jan. 28, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Here Is the Tax Burden on the Poorest 20% in Every State